I’ve been expecting digital banking disrupters in the SMB space since the beginning of the online banking era (late-1990s). But the tech and financial recessions of 2000 and 2008 held up the newcomers until the last 4 or 5 years. But now we have some impressive entrants. We will look at each of the 9 active challengers in the U.S. marketplace. We reviewed Rho earlier, today it’s Lili’s turn.



lili logo

Lili is focused on freelancers, a 59-million segment (in the United States) that accounts for more than 1 out of every 4 adults (see chart above).  The website (see screenshot below) has a modern look and feel and immediately highlights the startup’s USP: Banking designed for freelancers.” Choice Financial is the banking provider.

Features & benefits listed on homepage:
  • Free
  • Faster access to direct deposits
  • Business debit card with free withdrawals
  • 4.8 app store ratings (actually 4.7 in Apple store, 4.5 in Google Play as of 20 May 2021)
  • Security features (account freeze, real-time transaction notifications, FDIC insured)
  • 3-min application process with no credit score impact

Learn More   at Lili all-in-one mobile banking service

Other differentiating factors:
  • Allows customers to automatically set aside a portion of revenues for later tax payments, called “Tax Bucket”
  • No overdrafts allowed (no OD fees)
  • Swipe transactions left or right to designate personal or business
  • Offers “emergency bucket” to hide funds from your available balance
  • Can deposit cash via GreenDot’s “@ the Register” (retailer typically charges up to $4.95 per
  • Free ATM transactions through MoneyPass ($2.50 for out of network domestic, $5 international)
  • $50 bonus if signing up via a referral code (must spend $250)
  • Mobile-only
  • No rewards
  • No interest
  • Relatively tight limits on mobile check deposits

Lili homepage (20 May 2021)

Company vitals

– Founded: 2018
– Raised $25M (in 2020) (Crunchbase)
– Website visitors (April 2021): 180,000 (SimilarWeb)
– Employees: 35 (Pitchbook)
– Citations: 8 (Crunchbase)
– Twitter: 147 followers
– Trustpilot: 2.8 (note only 3 reviews)

Video reviews

Independent 4-min product demo and review (posted 25 Aug 2020): 4,300 views

Newer review (about 6 minutes) but no product demo (posted 19 Feb 2021): 1,800 views